Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Brief History of the South Fraser Perimeter Road

In March 1992, a study called "South Fraser Perimeter Road Study" concluded that a new route from Highway 1/15 to Highway 91 would be needed for commercial traffic. This was reflected in Metro Vancouver's Transport 2021 and the Livable Region Strategic Plan at the time. Between 1995 and 1998, various reports and projects were completed by Delta and Surrey to facilitate this new regional road. South Fraser Way in Surrey reflects some of this early work. Meanwhile the Province worked on a study in 1995 that determined:
-The SFPR has an unmistakable provincial function and serves as an important element in the long term inter-regional network.

-The SFPR would function as a major truck corridor serving inter- and intraregional truck trips.

-The SFPR supports the regional growth management strategy outlined in the “Livable Region Strategic Plan” and is compatible with the policies and system concept of “Transport 2021”.

-The SFPR should be a four-lane expressway with the highest standard of access control in order to fulfill its role and function as a major east-west connector and major truck route.
They also determined that the work done to date by Surrey and Delta didn’t meet the expressway standards that the province wanted.
Previous designs prepared for the City of Surrey generally meet the 80 km/h standard. Although generally in conformance with the MoTH standard, the Surrey designs are inconsistent in typical section along the length, particularly the median. Previous work by both Surrey and Delta provided for significant access control but intersection spacing is well below the 800 metres minimum required for an expressway.
In 2001 the Ministry of Transportation released its own report on what it thought the South Fraser Perimeter Road should be, and the SFPR as we know it was started. At that time, the Province was only looking at Highway 91 to Highway 1/15. The section of the SFPR through Burns Bog was a phase two future plan. As you know since 2003 this project scope is now from Deltaport all the way to Highway 1/15.

I was reading one report that was discussing how designing the SFPR as a road like Fraser Highway or 200th Street (an urban arterial) would have similar benefits to designing it as an expressway. I’m not sure why, but it then just recommended that is be an expressway.

Anyways, the point of all this relates to my earlier post that when the Ministry of Transportation builds a road is always turns into an expressway. I’m convinced expressways are the only kind of road they are allowed to build. Compare Fraser Highway or 200th Street to the Highway 10 Widening Project. All three are major regional roads. Fraser Highway and 200th Street are designed to a standard that fits their urban context with paths, bike lanes, planted medians, and wide sidewalks. Highway 10 rips through Surrey with noise walls, narrow sidewalks, and concrete barriers. Not a good way to connect communities and build with Smart Growth principles.

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